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UK is world leader in offshore wind - 21 Oct 2008  

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The UK has overtaken Denmark to become the world's number one for wind farms built offshore, with 597MW fully constructed. The achievement has been made possible after building work finished at Centrica's Lynn and Inner Dowsing wind farms near Skegness.

Offshore wind farms now have the potential to power the equivalent of around 300,000 UK homes. This follows the Prime Minister's announcement at the British Wind Energy Association's conference this morning that the UK now gets 3 gigawatts of electricity from wind power.

Mike O'Brien, Minister of State at the new Department of Energy and Climate Change made the announcement whilst visiting the wind farms off the coast of Skegness this morning.

Mike O'Brien said:

"As the Prime Minister himself said this morning, we are now getting 3 gigawatts of our electricity capacity from wind power. That's enough to power more than 1.5 million homes. Offshore wind makes up 20% of that capacity and the wind farms I am visiting today are the ones that have made the UK the world's number one for offshore wind power, knocking Denmark off the top spot."

"Offshore wind is hugely important to help realise the Government's ambition to dramatically increase the amount of energy from renewable sources. Overtaking Denmark is just the start. There are already five more offshore wind farms under construction that will add a further 938 megawatts to our total by the end of next year. We are also assessing plans to increase the total by a massive 25 gigawatts in the future. That's enough electricity for every home in the country."

"This will ultimately help in the fight against climate change and further secure the UK's energy supplies - two of the goals of the new Department of Energy and Climate Change."
Mike O'Brien also announced that consent has been granted to Centrica to build the 250MW Lincs offshore wind farm next door to the ones he visited today.

Centrica CEO, Sam Laidlaw, said:

"Not only is Lynn and Inner Dowsing the biggest wind development in the world, it represents a major milestone on the journey to secure the UK's future energy needs. It's pleasing that our wind farms help the UK reach the top ranking in off shore wind power in the world but importantly it underlines the significant investment to supply our British Gas customers with renewable electricity in the years ahead."

The news that the UK is now the world leader in wind power follows today's announcement by the Carbon Trust to help accelerate offshore wind power in the UK. The Carbon Trust will work with five major energy companies, on a new £30m initiative to cut the costs of energy from offshore wind by 10%.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust said:

"The UK has an amazing opportunity not just to lead the world but to be the dominant global player. Our research shows that by 2020 the UK market could represent almost half of the global market for offshore wind power. To make that happen it will be critical to improve the current economics of offshore wind power. By working with five major offshore players, the Carbon Trust is aiming to reduce costs, increase performance and improve the economic viability of offshore wind farms."

Mike O'Brien will address the BWEA conference tomorrow.

Maria McCaffery MBE, BWEA Chief Executive

"Today is a momentous day for the UK, as we are now a global leader in a renewable energy technology for the first time ever. Now is the time to step up the effort even further and secure the huge potential for jobs, investment and export revenues that offshore wind has for Britain. We look forward to working in partnership with Government to ensure that this vital technology is deployed so we can deliver on our ambitious renewable target for 2020."


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Source: Department of Energy and Climate Change